Injecting botox injections into the arm muscles of stroke survivors may help in long term recovery, states new research.
Researchers at Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA) here monitored nerve activity in the arms and brains of stroke survivors before and after botulinum toxin (botox) injections in rigid and stiff muscles in the arm.
They found that botox indeed improved arm muscles but also altered brain activity in the cortex - the brain region responsible for movement, memory, learning and thinking, the journal Muscle and Nerve reports.
"Botulinum toxin is used to treat a range of muscular and neurological conditions and our data shows that this treatment results in electrical and functional changes within the brain itself," says William Huynh, research neurologist at NeuRA, who led the study.
"This effect of botox on the brain may arise because the toxin travels to the central nervous system directly or because muscles treated with botox are sending different signals back to the brain, says Huynh.
"Either way, we found that botox treatment in affected muscles not only improves muscle disorders in stroke patients but also normalises electrical activity in the brain, particularly in the half of the brain not damaged by stroke," adds Huynh, according to a NeuRA statement.
"Restoring normal activity in the unaffected side of the brain is particularly important because we suspect that abnormal information sent from affected muscles to the brain may be disrupting patients' long-term recovery," Huynh concluded.